When you read about hiring in companies you often hear the old adage “Hire slow, fire fast” or “A hiring mistake costs you 18 months”. What I have never heard is how detrimental a non-standard, poorly thought out hiring practice can be on morale.

Case in point: I was speaking with a colleague the other day about an interview loop that he went through and how disappointed he was. He wasn’t disappointed by the outcome (not getting the role), he was disappointed with the process; specifically the 1/2 an interview that he was granted to compete for the role. He left that short interview feeling that the company did not take his candidacy seriously. The disappointment lead to resentment and eventually, his leaving the company.

Unfortunately, it is not the first time I have heard about this happening. In fact, I have heard about it happening an alarming number of times, for a range of reasons;

    • The hiring manager is predisposed to a candidate.
    • The hiring manager believes that they can select candidates with only one interview due to their superhuman ‘intuition’ (Never the case).
    • There is a belief that you must have an external candidate, for reasons such as industry knowledge.

In all cases, internal candidates are left wondering – why didn’t I get a shot at that job? If I am getting good reviews, why is this person better than me? And ultimately, they make it harder for the new hire as that person will face some form of resentment from the disillusioned.

Keeping this in mind, I try to adhere to this form of transparent hiring process to ensure equity and most importantly – a strong competition for the role so that the best candidate wins:

  • All roles are posted for a minimum of one week. Everyone sees what is going on.
  • All internal applicants must have approval from their current manager to apply for a job. This seems like common sense, but I am always surprised by how often this rule needs to be enforced – with candidate managers being surprised. I often find myself wondering about the quality of a manager who does not know that their employee is seeking an internal role elsewhere.
  • Every qualified candidate requires a minimum of 2 interviews to ensure that a single person’s opinion is not disqualifying a candidate.
  • Senior hiring cycles should go through multiple phases. The first 2 interviews to create a short list with a second stage of 3-5 additional interviews to complete selection. This accomplishes three things: It provides a wide range of input, builds support for the individual in the new role with key stakeholders and puts in place enough rigour to improve the odds of selecting the best candidate.
  • Internal candidates get special attention to their interview cycles to ensure equity with a few key guidelines:
    • If their manager supports their pursuing the role and their performance/ratings/ tenure support their pursuit of the role then they must get the 2 interview cycle.
    • Regardless of outcome, all internal candidates must get a debrief on why they did not get the role so that they can understand what has happened and be equipped with points that can contribute to their long term development.
    • If the candidate’s current manager knows that the individual is not ready for the role but sees benefit in putting the candidate through the cycle, then it should be completed. I have seen this done a number of times and it is an effective development opportunity. For example: A candidate may only be in current role for 1 year but anxious for the next role. By running through the interview process and getting feedback on what they need to work on, from someone other than their current manager, it can provide a level set and great insight into where they need to develop for the long term.
  • Where possible, interviewing managers should be provided with as much insight as possible prior to the interview: CV and other data points, such as the Predictive Index and in the case of internals; previous reviews.

The end result should be that those who are not selected get feedback that they can action and while they will probably be disappointed at not getting the role, they cannot question the process and the fact that they had a fair shot at winning.

Morale is protected and the best candidate wins.

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